The Barton Community College men's soccer team had their season come to an end Monday in the final round of the NJCAA Division I National Tournament pool play as the Cougars dropped a 3-1 result to 2nd seeded Salt Lake Community College.
Needing to defeat the 7th seeded Cougars by two or more goals, Salt Lake put two on the board in the first ten minutes at Wichita's Stryker Sports Complex, adding another with 3:08 to play enjoying a 3-nill lead to the break.
The Cougars came out with renewed energy in second half play, controlling most attacks drawing to within two on Felipe D'Agostini's net shaker in the 65th minute for his team leading 14th of the year.
Needing no less than a one goal differential for Barton to advance, the Bruins kept the Cougars from advancing despite numerous attacks behind a quality of defensive line plays.
Salt Lake's speed caused the more physical Cougars problems early, banging a strike off the cross bar four minutes into the contest and three minutes later setting up a free kick opportunity just outside the eight. Taimu Okiyoshi connected on the well executed play giving the Bruins the early lead.
Just two and half minutes later, Samuel Owusu's cross caromed off the hands of net tender Yuki Nishigaki with Ryen Jiba on the door steps pushing the margin out to two.
The Cougars began to settle in, adjusting to the speed while on the offensive end creating opportunities including a twelve yard strike by D'Agostini but was rejected by a great leaping save by 6'4" Bruin goalkeeper Christian Olivares with seven minutes before halftime.
With Barton pressing on the offensive end, the Bruins' speed again bit the Cougars with Okiyoshi netting his second of the contest as Levonte Johnson keyed the counter attack.
Final numbers had the match at ten shots each with Barton putting just two on frame while the Bruins put six in between the pipes.
Barton concludes its fifth national tournament appearance and the 2020-21 season at 13-3-1 while Salt Lake moves on to its first ever semifinal appearance beginning Wednesday with a 14-1-1 record.